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We all have little niggles from time to time. Whether it’s sore leg muscles from working out in the gym or sore muscles in the neck from sustained poor posture while sitting at work. Tight muscles can be sore just on their own or they can refer to other areas of the body, such as tight neck muscles causing a headache. But muscle tightness can have more subtle effects, such as affecting the way you walk, the way you run or the way you swing a golf club. Altered body mechanics in everyday activities are less efficient, making you tire more easily, and can lead to greater stress placed on other areas of the body – leading to all manner of injuries and chronic, painful conditions.
More than just a quick rub on the shoulders, a professional massage therapist, such as PhysioTrain’s experienced massage therapists, will take a full history, and assess your body to determine the areas that will respond best to massage.
Once considered a luxury, massage has been proven time and time again to be vital to any injury prevention or personal wellness program. Here’s four scientifically-proven health benefits of massage.
1. Massage as a form or relaxation
Your phone is turned off. Nobody can contact you for the next hour. Having a 60 minute massage is an opportunity to slow your breathing and pay attention to your body. A study showed a measurable decrease in the stress hormone Cortisol in people who received a deep tissue massage.
2. Reduce inflammation
A study found that massage works to ease sore muscles after a tough workout. Just 10 minutes can reduce inflammation, which can help your body recover.
3. Improves sleep
If you’ve ever fallen asleep while getting a massage, you probably don’t need to be coaxed into believing massage can promote healthy sleep. Numerous studies (see footnote) have shown that massage has a positive effect on delta waves, the kind of brain waves connected to deep sleep.
4. Reduces headaches
A study found that a 30-minute massage decreased pain for people with tension headaches, and even curbed some of the stress and anger associated with that pounding head.
Tips for self management
Your massage therapist will be able to identify problem areas and often give you some homework to do in between sessions. Having a couple of simple stretches or strength exercises to work on can be a great addition to your day.
Little niggles may not be significant enough on their own to seek out professional help, but when you have a regular appointment you can bring up these small problems and deal with them before they become a chronic problem.
Footnote: Field, T., Hernandes-Reif, M., Diego, M., Fraser, M. (2007). Lower back pain and sleep disturbance are reduced following massage therapy. Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, 11(2) 141-145.